Inside the huhu puku

Molecular biology is an approach that aims to figure out the molecular reasons why things appear or work the way they do in biology.

Scion scientist Nicola Reid and her colleagues in the biotransformation team recently used a DNA sequencing technique to estimate that a whopping 1800 types of bacteria are present in the gut of huhu larvae. Her paper, which has been accepted for print in the international journal, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, provides new information on the diversity and activity of gut-associated microorganisms that are essential for the digestion of wood.

This is significant because the breakdown of wood using enzymes and other mechanisms is an important focus of Scion’s research into biofuel development and biorefinery technologies.